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Showing posts from June, 2009

How to Outsmart a Teenage Boy

It's really rather simple.

The older boy I've been talking about, "Jorge," is currently in the habit of saying no to everything - things he has wanted to do, things I know he'd like, things he needs to do - everything that is suggested by someone else. So he is spending all his time sitting on his butt feeling sorry for himself. Which he has plenty of reason to do, but this is not very effective. Nothing has worked so today I decided to try a different approach. He has been wanting to earn money but now he says he doesn't want to do anything. Here's our text "conversation":

me: Hey, I have a dirty car and $10 for anyone who wants to wash it. Do you still want to earn money?

him: [no response. I am ignoring all adults. Whatever you have to say must be totally worthless and you know I am just going to say no.]

...two hours later...

me: It's OK if you don't want to. One of my neighbors has kids* who want to earn money. I'l just ask them.

...2…

Grieving

It's been interesting to see how everyone is grieving Joshua. Well, actually, it's been horribly heartbreaking, but also interesting, in a way.

In the family I've been helping out with, we have very mixed reactions:

"Rosa," the mother, is being extremely strong for her kids. She hasn't had an easy life and hasn't been around for a lot of the raising of the kids, so they are - understandably - rebelling against her. She's doing a pretty good job staying consistent and enforcing rules, which is hard to do when you have a son who's bigger than you screaming in your face. My friend and I have been trying to help however we can - encouraging her to keep her authority, mostly, because she is the adult in the house and the kids will eventually learn that. Rosa likes the new place a lot but is worried about money (there's probably funds through August 31, then she's back to trying to find a place on just a few hundred a month - not easy).

"…

Guns and Lockdowns

The kids I've been talking about in my last few posts are a little more stable, at least in terms of their living situation. Again, thanks to everyone who helped financially - you may very well have helped save these boys' lives - no exaggeration. Again, these are the kids who witnessed the murder and had to be relocated because the police (who I just love SO MUCH - is the sarcasm reaching you through the computer?) showed them off to the suspects so there are plenty of threats of retaliation to go around. Then they treated them like they were the criminals. But I digress.

They are in an apartment now which is bigger than ones they've lived in before and - while not in an affluent area at all - are not in danger. I think they're talked into counseling - and thank goodness, their mom and grandmother are 100% in favor of it. I worry about them - the older one talks about getting an AK-47 and shooting anyone who bothers him. He tends to say things for dramatic eff…

An Apartment!

The family has found an apartment! This may be only for a couple of months - it's a little more than they can afford and the DA's office only pays for the first month and the deposit. But they really like it, so I'm hoping they can work out how to pay for it. It's a two bedroom, and before this, they were in a studio, so that is awesome. The landlord is being very helpful and it seems to be a great situation. Thank you all for your prayers, financial help, good wishes... everything.

Soon the family will have to move on to the grieving process. Right now we're just seeing it in crazy emotional outbursts over seemingly little things. The little one is prone to temper tantrums anyway, but he's way worse, and I don't blame him. At the same time, he can't do things like hang up on his teacher and yell at his mom. Both boys say they're dead set against counseling but I'm hoping they get used to the idea.

Progress

I'm very tired so this won't be too detailed but a lot of people are helping and I want to keep them updated.

The apartment in Alameda fell through. They need (as most landlords do) a credit check and "Rosa" is not in the country legally (although all of her children are citizens). We're having trouble finding a landlord who will rent to someone without a credit score, even if she has the money.

However, Catholic Charities is totally stepping up. They sent a social worker to get Rosa through the Welfare office crazy red tape in record time, and she should start receiving food stamps and other aid for the kids (not for her, because she's not legal) on Thursday. Once she has this help, the social worker thinks it will be easier to find a landlord, because she'll have some sort of documented income.

In addition, people from all over - from my church, my family, my friends, old co-workers, friends of friends, friends' parents, Warren (the kids "Big …